|Category||Thriller||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 3|
|Year Released||1975||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||118:50 minutes||Other Extras||Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette - "The Making Of Jaws"
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Jaws was the movie that broke records and established the "summer blockbuster", firmly entrenching itself in the modern culture as the mother of all monster movies, using reality-driven frights instead of imagined ones, and drawing on primal, inescapable fears. The idea of a massive shark bearing down on you with a mouthful of teeth would frighten most sane people to the point of walking on water should the need arise - that's of course assuming that the paralysis of mind and body could be overcome, and the blood in your body could be convinced to return to the brain in order that you could control your legs in the first place. Scary is not the word.
It was with excitement that I placed this disc in my player having only seen this movie once on VHS (shudder), and as this is being loudly advertised as being a world-wide simultaneous release in all regions, I expected big things. I was not disappointed. The acting is first rate, the plot is riveting, the effects convincing, and the man responsible for bringing it to the screen beyond question. Add in a dash of the incomparable John Williams, and you get an experience beyond the norm, from an era of filmmaking where the art was worth more than the marketing potential. Certainly, it was hugely marketable in its day, but that was as a result of it being original and genuinely worthy in the first place, something which is becoming sadly rare these days.
The movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
The definition of this disc is at times startling. The beach scenes, for instance, where everyone is so clearly visible in both the fore and backgrounds, is stunning, and belies the 25 years since this was filmed. Many scenes appeared three-dimensional, such as the early scenes near the moors where Richard Dreyfus makes his appearance. This is perhaps the most finely detailed and sharp DVD that I have seen, due not only to the fine restoration work and the virtue of anamorphic transfer, but also due to the quality of the compression which is absolutely faultless and is totally transparent. Fear not, this image will leave you very impressed indeed. Shadow detail was mostly very good, and at least as good as can be expected. All but a very small percentage of scenes were free of noise of any kind, including film grain which was absent.
The colours were also very nice, and something for which I was unprepared. Normally, old movies are easy to pick by the colour rendering. Here, they are natural and clean for the majority of the movie. A couple of long shots of the Orca suffered from minor bleeding, which was probably the result of that particular film stock being submerged in water for a while by accident as revealed in the documentary which accompanies this disc.
There were only two scenes which had any kind of film artefacts that you would associate with old movies, the rest being nigh on perfect. Aliasing was a bit touch and go early on during the bright outdoor scenes, but given the high resolution of this transfer, was more than acceptable.
This disc is an RSDL-formatted
DVD, with the layer change occurring in Chapter 15, at 89:20.
It is not at all distruptive to the flow of the movie, ocurring during
a rare quiet moment.
The source of the controversy is that the English soundtrack has been extensively touched up and even re-recorded in parts in order to produce a meaningful 5.1 mix for modern audiences who might not be too thrilled with a shrill mono soundtrack. Whilst I absolutely am in favour of this procedure if it is done with care, as it has been in this case, I am also vehemently against not having the choice of listening to the original, and also in this case award-winning, soundtrack as an option. I am sure this could have been done, and just tacked on with the other languages as a low-bitrate recording, but it hasn't been.
I listened mostly to the new 5.1 mix, and was fairly impressed. All dialogue has been preserved, with no lip sync issues at all to report, which is something of a feat given the nature of the on-location recording. The dialogue did tend to give away the age of the movie, at times distorting, but it was remarkably good otherwise.
The score, by none other than the utterly masterful John Williams is superb, and is presented in all its glory in a way that no mono soundtrack could ever hope to do. Wonderfully spatial, rich and deep, this adds an immense amount of quality to the movie, and is a high coup for the engineers who remixed this soundtrack. Full of tell-tale Williams' cues, this score will surely please all his many fans - I was certainly thrilled.
This soundtrack is not an aggressively surrounding experience, but the odd effect pops up now and then. It does have a slight gimmicky nature to it since it is rare and does tend to call attention to itself when it occurs. The score does have a presence in the surrounds, but only very subtly and not enough to pull the soundstage away from the front speakers.
The subwoofer was used sparingly for the first two-thirds
of the movie, but as the action picked up so did it. Again, the original
soundtrack simply faded into silliness by comparison with this far meatier
mix. The familiar signature of the shark uses the sub to superb effect,
and you really haven't heard it this good ever before, even methinks at
the cinema back in '75.
|Surround Channel Use|
1 - 2.35:1, 3:15 minutes running time
2 - 1.33:1, 0:50 minutes running time
3 - 1.78:1, 0:59 minutes running time
The video transfer is jaw(s)-droppingly good (sorry).
The soundtrack is a bit of a mixed bag, but is far superior to its mono counterpart, the English version at least.
A welcome set of extras, anchored firmly by a very
|DVD||Panasonic A360 (S-Video output)|
|Display||Rear-Projection Pioneer SD-T43W1 125cm Widescreen 16x9|
|Audio Decoder||d t s 5.1 & Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD Player internal decoder)|
|Amplification||Sony STRDE-525 5x100 watts Dolby Pro-Logic / 5.1 Ready Receiver; 4 x Optimus 10-band Graphic EQ|
|Speakers||Centre: Sony SS-CN35 100 watt; Main & Surrounds: Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders; Subwoofer: Optimus 100-watt passive|